Ipswich Man Tackles Ultra Marathon - in the desert!

IPSWICH: As if one marathon wasn’t tough enough, a father-of-two is today preparing to tackle THREE 26-mile runs in the scorching African heat.

Stewart Conway, of Vermont Close, Ipswich, is taking on the gruelling Namibian Ultra Marathon on May 27 in memory of his father, who died from cancer in March.

Mr Conway said: “I decided to take on this challenge as cancer seems to touch more and more of us each day.”

His father, David, a civil servant from South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, was diagnosed with cancer just before Christmas 2008.

“It is difficult to cope with the loss and bereavement, and the Macmillan Trust have counsellors, online forums and other great support services,” said Mr Conway.

The 37-year-old will be running 78 miles in the Namib desert with 80 other competitors, carrying more than 10kg of supplies on his back, including an anti-venom pump in case of snake bites.

He chose the event to try to capture people’s imagination in a bid to reach his �7,800 target for the Macmillan Trust.

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“I have run the famous Marathon des Sables in the Sahara before, but Namibia is supposed to be hotter and harder.

“I wanted to challenge myself while my dad was fighting cancer,” he said.

Mr Conway has been putting in months of training, getting up at 4.30am to train before going to work in London, where he is the CEO of a digital media company, and completing seven-hour runs at the weekend.

“I did a training weekend this weekend. I headed down to the South Downs with all my kit and water. You do get some funny looks from people!

“Perhaps the hardest part of the challenge is keeping cool in the 50 degree heat, and with water stations only every 20 kilometres, it will be difficult to keep hydrated.

“The hard thing is that 50 per cent of people don’t finish. It’s all about keeping cool enough, and you can get in trouble before you know it.”

Mr Conway will be heading out three days early to acclimatise to the heat. He is leaving his wife Joanna at home to look after their two-year-old and four-month-old children, but the former ski instructor will have a picture of his dad on his water bottle to keep him going at his toughest points.

“The Macmillan Trust is an amazing charity and I hope I can just show a small amount of my friends’ and family’s courage as I face my challenge.”

To sponsor Mr Conway, log on to www.justgiving.com/stewart -conway

n Do you know anyone taking on a big event for charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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